Top hotel blames £190,000 profits drop on tram works

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A TOP city hotel has been put up for sale as it emerged Edinburgh's tram works had cost it nearly £200,000 in a year.

&#149 The Hudson Hotel in Hope Street has been put on the market

The Hudson Hotel, which includes the Bacaro nightclub and Hudson Bar, has been placed on the market for offers over 4.45 million less than four years after it was completed at a cost of 7m.

Selling agents, Jones Lang LaSalle, revealed that the hotel's income had dropped by more than 190,000 last year mainly due to the disruption from the tram works but stressed that was not the reason for the sale.

Themed as an American-style "boutique" hotel, the premises opened in June 2006 after an 18-month building programme but was put up for sale in recent weeks.

Owner Festival Inns, headed by pub tycoon Kenny Waugh, is said to have "decided the Hudson Hotel is non-core to its long term trading strategy".

Alan Creevy, a director at Jones Lang LaSalle, and speaking on behalf of Festival Inns, said: "All I can tell you is that the hotel is under offer, and we have a buyer lined up.

"With regards to the tram project, it must have impacted on quite a number of businesses in Edinburgh.

"It's slightly different now because there seems to be quite a lot of traffic flow, but at one point it was just incredibly difficult to move through the city and that's impacted the Hudson Hotel."

Michael Apter of the West End Traders' Association, which has criticised the tram project for severely impacting on business in the area around Shandwick Place said: "I'm sad to hear that they've taken such a hit. It's a great bar and it has a very high-spec finish.

"When the council executive members discussed the cost of the tram they didn't consider the cost brought to business in the last four years, and the continuing cost to business during the uncertainty that surrounds the project."

Mr Apter added: "Whatever the tram cost in terms of design and build to get it running, the lost profit to businesses in the city far exceeds that.

"It's happened during unprecedented economic conditions. People might have been more tolerant if it had taken place a decade ago when the city was booming and consumer confidence was at an all- time high."

In the schedule for the sale, agents Jones Lang LaSalle revealed the business's income dropped from 1.6m in 2008 to 1.4m last year.

Mandy Haeburn-Little, director of customer services and communications for the tram project, said: "We sympathise with local businesses that have been affected by the tram works. We have taken every option available to mitigate this and this includes a number of measures including making 2 million available to small businesses along the route.

"We have been working closely with businesses in the West End to help promote the area. We will continue to work with the business community to minimise the impact of the works."